Azarenka survives scare at Olympics


World number one Victoria Azarenka recovered from a second-set lapse to reach the London Olympics second round 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu on Monday. Azarenka, who replaced Maria Sharapova at the top of the world rankings after reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals, raced through the first set in just 24 minutes on the All England Club’s Centre Court. The 22-year-old from Belarus, playing in her second Olympics, found Begu a tougher nut to crack in the second set as the world number 79 broke twice to level the match. But Azarenka, the reigning Australian Open champion, rediscovered her rhythm in the final set. She landed the decisive break in the fourth game and will play Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the last 32.
Murray savours new role as nation’s favourite: Andy Murray believes his tearful reaction to losing the Wimbledon final has won him a place in the hearts of the British public after years struggling for their affections. Murray sobbed openly during an on-court television interview in the immediate aftermath of his four-set defeat against Roger Federer in his maiden Wimbledon final earlier this month and since then he has been deluged with messages of support. In the past, the 25-year-old Scot, who has irritated many British sports fans with his often surly demeanour during matches, might have feared any encounters with members of the public. But now people are coming up to him to express their sympathy for the Wimbledon loss and to wish him well for the future. There was certainly a huge groundswell of support for Murray as he returned to Centre Court for the first time since Wimbledon on Sunday.